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Devil's Quoit (Stackpole)

Standing Stone / Menhir

<b>Devil's Quoit (Stackpole)</b>Posted by postmanImage © Chris Bickerton
Also known as:
  • Stackpole Warren Stone
  • Dancing Stone of Stackpole

Nearest Town:Pembroke (7km N)
OS Ref (GB):   SR981950 / Sheet: 158
Latitude:51° 37' 1.32" N
Longitude:   4° 55' 0.24" W

Added by Kammer


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Fieldnotes

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I came here once before a couple of years ago, but didn't get the chance to see the stone, I've seen the other two stones that apparently make up a long alignment, but they aren't in a perfect line, this stone is slightly out of line, like somewhere else that i'm afraid escapes me at the moment.

Probably the easiest route to the stone would be from the car park to the north east at Stackpole quay. But then you'd miss out on the lovely Bosherston lily ponds and the hill fort there, come that way.
We actually took a wrong turn at the settlement across the third bridge, costing us about twenty minutes and me a pound, in the end I asked two walkers if they'd seen a big standing stone, they were able to point me in the right direction and five minutes later we were at the stone.

Upon our arrival Eric fair dumped himself on the floor leaning against the stone, while I took a few photos, ok a load of photos, then I joined him for a well deserved rest. The stone has a sticky out bit on the lower northern side. The stone is a white colour with yellow and white lichens on it. on one side of the stone there are a lot of pits and depressions, they look like fossilized footprints. One long deep gorge runs up it's southern shoulder, terminating in a notch.
Open heathland to the south and dense woods to the north, with the sun shining and a cool breeze it was a damn good visit, to a damn good stone. Too many damns?
About 150 yards to the west are one or two barrows, I could only make out one, and a slight one at that.
postman Posted by postman
28th August 2012ce
Edited 28th August 2012ce

Folklore

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I saw this stone alone in its field on a beautiful warm summer's day. However, it's not always alone. It is one of the Dancing Stones of Stackpole (the other two are here and here, the central one being in a field called 'Horestone Park', according to Sikes in 'British Goblins' - 1880). Sometimes they meet up and go to Rhyd Sais where they dance until they're too tired to dance any more. Sometimes their music is provided by the Devil himself, who plays for them on his flute.
(folklore from Barber's More Mysterious Wales)

Janet and Colin Bord specifically state (in 'Secret Country') that the stones dance 'The Hay' - a country dance.

William Howell, in "Cambrian Superstitions," (1831) says that anyone witnessing the stones dancing is granted exceptionally good luck. He mentions that witches are also said to have conducted their 'revels' at the stones (presumably while they are standing still - it could get a bit dangerous dancing with them).

Rhyd Sais means 'ford of the English' - or Saxon, which Sais originally meant. (Where the ford actually is, I don't know - do you?) I wonder whether this part of the story links with the fact one of the stones is called the Harold Stone. Harold is (according to the information on Coflein) Harold Godwinson - the Anglo-Saxon loser at the battle of Hastings, who had earlier successfully beaten Grufudd ap Llewelyn (who had control of the whole of Wales). Pembrokeshire has been known as the 'Little England beyond Wales' so maybe 'Rhyd Sais' wouldn't have the negative connotations it might have elsewhere in Wales. It's all very confusing.. do you know more?

Coflein even suggests there should be another stone, at SR97309530. The three are somewhat in a line, but the entry doesn't suggest why there 'should' be another - I suppose it would make the gaps between the stones equal. If the line of the stones is important - could that imply that we've lost the site of Rhyd Sais? Bosherston lakes are artificial (made to go with the now demolished house) so are they covering where the ford would once have been - in line with the stones? Or am I really entering the realms of fantasy now.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
4th March 2004ce
Edited 16th August 2005ce

Miscellaneous

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Coflein provides a nice painting by Jill Young
http://www.coflein.gov.uk/en/site/305411/images/DEVIL%27S+QUOIT%2C+STACKPOLE+ELIDOR/
postman Posted by postman
16th October 2011ce

Not to be confused with the earthfast burial chamber called The Devil's Quoit 11km to the west (near Broomhill Burrows) or the standing stone 2km to the west called The Devil's Quoit (near the small village of Sampson). Kammer Posted by Kammer
14th May 2003ce
Edited 5th March 2004ce